Stargardt’s Disease, also known as Fundus Flavimaculatus, is an inherited retinal degeneration which causes progressive loss of vision as a result of damage to the central region of the retina known as the macula. The macula contains photoreceptor cells known as cone cells, which are responsible for the fine, detailed, central (reading) vision and for color vision. This condition in turn leads to a loss of central and color vision, but peripheral (side vision) is usually preserved. Stargardt’s Disease can be variable in that the age at onset and rate of progression of vision loss can differ between individuals.
If a family member is diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, it is strongly advised that other members of the family also have an eye exam by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) who is specially trained to detect retinal diseases.
There are no proven treatments for Stargardt’s Disease as of yet, but there are ways to enhance and protect the vision that remains.,
- Maximizing an individual’s remaining vision is a crucial step to take and there are many low vision aids including telescopic and magnifying lenses which may offer benefit.
- There is research to suggest that UV sunlight can increase the toxicity of the waste products accumulating in the retina, therefore it is recommended that people with Stargardt’s Disease wear UV screening sunglasses when out in direct sunlight.
- Furthermore, researchers have identified that taking extra vitamin A, such as in a vitamin supplement (or some acne medications) may have a negative effect on the condition and should be avoided.
Recommended Glasses: Standard glasses with a bifocal microscope or 1.7X wide-angle reading bioptic glasses or distance bioptic glasses.
Cone Rod Dystrophy (CRD) is a genetic retinal disease that affects people both young and old. The genetic mutations passed down from parents to their children cause the retina cones and rods to degenerate, resulting in decreased sharpness in vision, increased sensitivity to light, impaired color vision, blind spots in the center of the visual field, and partial loss of peripheral vision. For many, this diagnosis can be life-changing due to the progressive nature of the visual impairment. Most individuals with this condition are legally blind by mid-adulthood.
However, treatments are available to help slow the progression as well as assistive technologies to help improve the overall quality of everyday life.
Treatment may include using tinted lenses or dark sunglass in bright environments and magnifying devices to assist in reading and other similar activities.
Recommended Glasses: Standard glasses with a handheld magnifier if needed
Rod Cone or Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare eye diseases that affect the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye). RP makes cells in the retina break down slowly over time, causing vision loss.
RP is a genetic disease that people are born with. Symptoms usually start in childhood, and most people eventually lose most of their sight.
There’s no cure for RP. But wearing UV sunglasses when outside may slow the progression of the disease and vision aids and rehabilitation (training) programs can help people with RP make the most of their vision.
The most common early symptom of RP is loss of night vision — usually starting in childhood. Parents may notice that children with RP have trouble moving around in the dark or adjusting to dim light.
RP also causes loss of side (peripheral) vision — so you have trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes. Over time, your field of vision narrows until you only have some central vision (also called tunnel vision).
Some people with RP lose their vision more quickly than others. Eventually, most people with RP lose their side vision and their central vision.
Other symptoms of RP include sensitivity to bright light and loss of color vision
Recommended glasses: Standard glasses with a bifocal microscope or 1.7X wide-angle reading bioptic glasses or distance bioptic glasses.
Nystagmus is a condition where the eyes move rapidly and uncontrollably. They can move: side to side (horizontal nystagmus) up and down (vertical nystagmus) in a circle (rotary nystagmus)
Nystagmus most commonly affects both of the eyes. It may only last seconds or may be permanent.
There are two types of nystagmus. In pendular nystagmus, the eye motion is like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Jerk nystagmus, the more common type, is characterized by eyes that drift slowly in one direction and then jerk back the o way. Doctors may notice nystagmus in a person being evaluated for dizziness, vertigo and other balance problems affecting the inner ear.
- Glasses or contact lenses. Clearer vision can help slow the rapid eye movements associated with nystagmus
- Eye muscle surgery
- Vision correction surgery
Recommended Glasses: standard glasses with a bifocal microscope or 1.7X wide-angle reading bioptics or distance bioptics
Albinism is a rare group of genetic disorders that cause the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no color. Albinism is also associated with vision problems.
Albinism is an inherited disorder that’s present at birth. Children have a chance of being born with albinism if both of their parents have albinism or both of their parents carry the gene for albinism.
The cause of albinism is a defect in one of several genes that produce or distribute melanin, the pigment that gives skin, eyes, and hair their coloring. The defect may result in the absence of melanin production or a reduced amount of melanin production.
Possible eye problems linked to albinism include: poor eyesight – either short-sightedness or long-sightedness, and low vision (sight loss that cannot be corrected) astigmatism – where the cornea (clear layer at the front of the eye) is not perfectly curved or the lens is an abnormal shape, causing blurred vision.
Recommended Glasses: Standard glasses with a bifocal microscope or 1.7X wide-angle reading bioptics or distance bioptics